Monday, January 26, 2015

Self Critique - Learning to Evaluate Your Own Work - Part 5

The name of this series "Self Critique - Learning to Evaluate Your Own Work" but hopefully there comes a time when you are ready to cut your work free and let it go into the world thus allowing other people to view and make their evaluations of your work.  This coming out could likely be in the form of a juried show.  This is a new way to explore your work and evaluate what you have done in relation to what a specific show prospectus states as their mission.  If the show is interested in geometric abstraction and your work is floral you will want to save your money and keep looking for a better match for your work.  If you do work with geometric abstraction then you might want to check out who is doing the jurying.  Informing yourself about the juror does not insure that they will accept your work but I believe it makes the experience of allowing another person or persons to make a judgement on your work more personal and hopefully more meaningful.

The thing you must work hard to avoid is allowing either a positive or negative outcome to a show entry to influence what how you feel about your work.  I just received a rejection notice for a show I entered.  I was disappointed but I know that there are only so many spaces for any given show and the jurors must make their best choices to fill those spaces with a cohesive and lively representation of what was entered.  I don't think jurors can say they are not swayed by their own prejudices about work they are judging but then that's in some ways what they are hired to do.  

I asked the artist I worked with on this survey if they entered juried shows and how much importance they give to acceptance or rejection.  Here's a sample of their responses.

Jane Allen Nodine:  Yes I do, and I have for over 30 years.  I have been fortunate to be selected for quite a few major national and international competitions, which gets my work out and away from my region.  I don't however give too much weight to competitions because I know the judging process is subjective.

Judy Langille:  Depending on the exhibition and how much I want to be in a show establishes how much importance I put on acceptance or rejection.  The first time I was in Quilt National I had to keep pinching myself in order to believe it.  I actually missed my oldest sons graduation from Law School in order to be there for the festivities.

Leslie Avon Miller:  It always feels better to be accepted than rejected.  Other than the emotional component though, I doubt it means much of anything once you have reached a certain level of expertise.  I think it's more about the judges and the specific show than it is about the quality of the work.

Leslie Riley:  I am pleased and honored when accepted into an exhibition and disappointed when rejected.  I am well aware of the subjective nature of a juried exhibition so I do not take the results personally.  Rejection does not devalue my art.  Shows are an opportunity for exposure and recognition.


I hope you have been enjoying this series.  Next week I will be wrapping it up with my list of points to keep in mind relating to Self Critique.

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  1. I'm really enjoying this series, Terry. And it's fun to hear your voice in the writing now.